Cocoa Blocks

Swirl these blocks into a mug of hot milk and enjoy luscious hot chocolate.  This recipe came from King Arthur Flour. I made these for a dear friend for Christmas.  We, of course, sampled them before giving them as a gift and they work wonderfully.  We also learned they are wonderful when stirred into a cup of hot coffee.

½ cup heavy cream (4 ounces)
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cups)
3 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (chopped chocolate bars or chips)
3/4 cup (18 ounces) unsweetened baking chocolate
wooden sticks

1) Line an 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
2) Heat the cream and condensed milk over low heat until steaming. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate; allow it to gently melt.
3) After about 10 minutes, return the chocolate mixture to low heat to completely melt the chocolate. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is thick and shiny. Add a few drops of flavoring oil if you like; hazelnut, coffee, or vanilla are popular flavors.
4) Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan; shake the pan gently to level. Sprinkle with cocoa, if desired. Set aside overnight to slowly set up.
5) Run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn out onto a clean cutting surface.
6) Slice into 1 ¼" cubes. Heat a knife in hot water and wipe dry before each cut, for smoothest cuts.
7) Stick a wooden stick into the center of each block.
8) Roll in cocoa or crushed peppermint candy, if desired.
9) Wrap in waxed paper, parchment, or plastic wrap to store.
Yield: about 3 dozen blocks.

My notes:
I used semisweet chocolate chips.
I didn't add any flavoring oil, but plan to in the future since I WILL be making these again.
It instructs you to "shake the pan gently to level".  This DOES NOT work.  I had to take the back of a flat spatula and press the blob o' chocolate into the pan.
It takes about 8 hours for them to set up.
I didn't use wooden sticks 'cause I didn't have any.  I used coffee stirrers and put two blocks on each one.  The recipient said that the 2 blocks in a regular sized mug of hot milk worked well.
I didn't roll in cocoa or crushed peppermint.  I just dusted mine with cocoa before they set up.

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